The boat is swaying back and forth. There is a mixture of sweat and sleep in the air. One of the guys is sleeping in front of me with a coconut tree hat covering his face. We are all completely exhausted.
Twelve days in Ormoc on the island of Leyte in the Philippines. We arrived two weeks after the typhoon, that among the locals is referred to as Yolanda, hit and caused mayor destructions. In many of the cities on Leyte 98% of the buildings are ruined.
I arrived with a team of 17 to help set up a base camp where relief goods could be distributed. When we arrived on Leyte it rained and it was dark meaning we didn’t get to do an assessment of the situation around us and what our work would look like until next morning.
When it became morning and the sun started rising we were able to see the devastation. Rooftops gone, walls collapsed, uprooted trees thrown far from their origin.
We camped at a church where the roof was partly gone and the backyard looked like a scene from a movie. – Now, as we were leaving we had been able to remove all the debris left by Yolanda. We had prepared a place for future outreach teams that will be coming in over the next many months to do relief work.
While I’m writing all this I am realizing how many stories I would like to share. Therefore I will dedicate the next coming blog post to those stories so that I won’t exhaust you as a reader.
I’d like to start out with sharing a short story of God’s faithfulness.
The second day at Ormoc we agreed to send out a little team to scout the land. Five of our guys left and started walking up the mountain. On the way up the mountain they saw a man on a bike who waved at them while he was driving by – he was waving with both hands. They guys shared it with us that evening, and the story became the “both hands in the air motorcycle guy”-story.
The next day we met with all the pastors in the area. They came to welcome us to Ormoc. Many of their churches were collapsed so most of them tried to put in a request for our team to come and help. Among them were Pastor Erly, a humble and friendly man. He never asked for our help in contrast to the other pastors, but Jordan, who was leading our team, asked Pastor Erly if we could be of any assistance. He humbly said yes.
Next day our team cleared out the church and it didn’t take us more than a few hours. We removed all the bricks that had fallen down, gathered all the wood in one area and we even killed a baby cobra hiding in between the rocks.
As we gathered to pray for the church and say goodbye the pastor told us how he had prayed desperately for God to send help. He said he had been so desperate he almost put up a sign on the roof saying “help us Obama” for the helicopters to see, but The Lord had spoken to him saying: “Wait. I will send you help”.
A few days later as the pastor was on his way back from the city he saw 5 white men walking on the mountain and The Lord spoke again :” That’s your help. Wave with both hands in the air.”